What is leadership? Are you born to lead? Can anyone lead? As part of the Teacher Leadership and Compensation Grant, which Benton Community received this school year, I was fortunate enough to be selected to fulfill a leadership role. However, I don't believe it takes a title to become a leader. I think leadership can evolve from your desire to excel as a professional. As a Basketball Coach, I have the privilege of meeting great leaders who inspire and drive their team. As an Instructional Coach, I have the honor of working with great leaders that motivate students within their classroom. As a Professional Develop Leader, I am blessed to work with great leaders who model professionalism within our district. I am surrounded by great leaders that I try to emulate and learn from to improve myself. So, what sets you apart? What makes you unique that others might want to follow your lead? I have found this year that many teachers don't view themselves as leaders. They think what they do within their classroom is their job. They don't view themselves as special or exemplar. They do what they need to do to help students.
More than anything else this year, I have found that teachers need to see themselves in a different light. Teachers need to realize the special qualities they bring to the table and have the confidence to share that with their colleagues. Within you, there is something that drives your work. We wouldn't be in education if we weren't inspired to be here. What is your passion? What do you bring to the table? What sets your classroom apart from everyone else? To lead, you need to answer these questions and then have the confidence to share.
I think my leadership story began when my first principal at Benton Community, Mr. Gary Zittergruen, showed me that I had something to offer. He challenged me to share my partner activities with others and helped push me to learn more. I feel there were many principals after Mr. Zittergruen that continued to instill confidence in my work and challenged me to keep growing. Principals can develop leaders. However, don't wait for your principal to inspire you to lead. You have what it takes! Find what you do well, challenge yourself to grow in that area, and then share your knowledge with others. Sharing is the first step in leading. Start small, share a new idea this week with one other person. Continue to push yourself out of your comfort zone and next week post your idea on social media. Set the goal to share your gift with 10 people by the end of the month. It won't take long. People will hear what you say, learn from your knowledge and start seeing you in a different light. The leader is there within you and you just need to share it!